A Conference in Honor of Thomas Laqueur

A pioneer of the new cultural history, Tom Laqueur is a historian of immense range and creativity who has set intellectual landmarks across a number of fields.  His work on the body and gender, on sex, and on death has mapped out a provocative, often counter-intuitive set of arguments that have opened up new subjects for historical study.  His books include The Work of the Dead (Princeton, 2015), Solitary Sex (Zone, 2003), Making Sex (Harvard, 1990), and Religion and Respectability (Yale, 1976).  The force of some scholars is neatly contained in their books, but Tom’s influence exceeds those bounds.  As a founding editor of Representations, at the helm of the Townshend Center for the Humanities, in his astute essays in the London Review of Books, and in mentoring generations of Berkeley graduate students from across the university, Tom’s role as an intellectual provocateur has also set him apart.  He’s the impresario of dinners and the ringleader of perpetual reading groups, unfailingly generous in dispersing gems from his own personal storehouse.  On his 70th birthday and in his 43rd year as a faculty member at Berkeley, Tom’s students, friends and colleagues gather to celebrate him and his contributions to the university and his fields of study.

A conference in honor of the 70th Birthday of Thomas Laqueur, the Helen Fawcett Distinguished Professor of History|
Social Science Matrix, 8th Floor, Barrows Hall
Septmeber 5th- 6th
Berkeley, CA


laqueur poster


























Saturday, 5 September

Coffee, 8:30-9:00

Welcoming remarks 9-9:15 (Deborah Cohen and Maura O’Connor)

9:15-10:45:  Lynn Hunt, University of California, Los Angeles, "The Changing Boundaries of the Human" 

Introduced by Deborah Cohen, Northwestern

Comments:  Nicoletta Gullace, University of New Hampshire and Priya Satia, Stanford           

11-12:15  WAR

Introduced by Patricia Lin, University of California, Berkeley

Susan Grayzel, University of Mississippi, "On [Being a Cultural and Gender Historian of] War"

Andrew Keating, University of California, Berkeley, “The Invention of Remembrance:  War, Commemoration and National Identity”

Daniel Ussishkin, University of Wisconsin, Madison, “'War Enthusiasm' and Cultural History”

12:15-1:15  lunch

1:30-2:45  LEARNING FROM LAQUEUR: A Session Devoted to Tom’s Teaching

Vanessa Schwartz, University of Southern California

Penny Ismay, Boston College

3-4:30:  Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard, “In the Bathhouse”

Introduced by Jane Shaw, Stanford

Comments:  Lisa Cody, Claremont McKenna College and  Catherine Robson, New York University


Introduced by Deborah Valenze, Barnard

5:45-7:30  RECEPTION

Sunday, 6 September

Coffee, 9-9:30

9:30-11:00  Alexander Nehamas, Princeton, “”Metaphors in Life: ‘I Love You for Yourself’”

Introduced and with a Comment by Seth Koven, Rutgers


Introduced by Joe Zizek

Doug Haynes, University of California, Irvine, “Fit to Practice British Medicine: Overseas Doctors and the British Medical Profession”

Monica Rico, Lawrence University, “'A World in a Grain of Sand': The Patriarchal Picaresque of Charles Willson Peale”

Max Jones, University of Manchester, “‘After “The Queen Caroline Affair”: Politics as Art and the Function of the Trivial’

Alice Goff, University of Michigan, “The Silence of Matter: Connecting the Cosmic to the Particular in Cultural History”

12:30-1:45  LUNCH

2:00-3:30:  Catherine Gallagher, University of California, Berkeley, “Tracing the History of Counterfactual History"

Introduced by Maura O’Connor, University of Cincinnati

Comments:  Ian Burney, University of Manchester and Arianne Chernock, Boston University


Introduced by James Vernon, University of California, Berkeley

Michelle Tusan, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, "War, Genocide and Humanitarianism"

Caroline Shaw, Bates College, “Gender, Labor, and the Work of the Refugee Narrative” 

Tehila Sasson, Berkeley, “Humanitarianism, Capitalism, and the Making of the Ethical Subject”


Made possible by the Stern Memorial Trust, The Townsend Center, the Center for British Studies, and the Deans of Humanities and Social Sciences.